The now well-established Alde Valley Spring Festival opened last week end in not very warm but sunny conditions. I have already written a lot about this event in previous years so I will but add a few new points now.
Let me say straight away it was very enjoyable (again!), particularly so this year as it contained some new artists as well as some well-established ones. This year it was themed around ‘A Celebration of Portraiture, Life Drawing and the Figure in the Landscape’, deriving from the discovery in 1907 of a bronze head of the Emperor Claudius that was found by two boys playing in the R. Alde at Rendham, just a mile upstream from White House Farm, the Festival site. The original is in the British Museum; a terra cotta replica features here. The most striking development of the portrait idea is in some new work by sculptor Laurence Edwards: three monumental heads in plaster and bronze. The largest, 7 ft high, is dominant, intended eventually to be placed atop a large human figure:
It is, however, the setting of these figures which is visually and aesthetically so satisfying. A mid-twentieth Dutch barn has been converted into a superb, naturally-lit gallery for these sculptures by filling-in most of the sides with corrugated iron sheeting and making two opposing double-doors in both the long and end sides. The effect is terrific:
I’ll probably write more about this splendid Festival later but I must stop now for the time being.